Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day! - Vetran's Day! 2008

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 the guns fell silent along the Western Front and an armistice was signed ending World War I. "The war to end all wars." November 11th thus became a holiday known as Armistice Day. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day. In Medford, in a park near the National Guard Armory, there are trees planted for each boy from Jackson County who died in World War I. There are a lot of trees. My grandfather Lewis Holton and my great Uncle Herman Bellach both served under "Black Jack" Pershing in in France in World War I. Like almost all the veteran's of that war they are now gone.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

George M. Cohan wrote the song "Over There" just as the United States entered World War I and it became the anthem for the American soldiers going to France to fight the German "Hun"

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run,
On the run, on the run.
Hear them calling, you and me,
Every son of liberty.
Hurry right away,
No delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line.
(chorus sung twice)

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Johnnie show the Hun
Who's a son of a gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit,
Show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks,
From the towns and the tanks.
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue.
(chorus sung twice)

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there -
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a pray'r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over
Over there

I can still hear Uncle Herm singing this song which was a favorite of American Soldiers in France during World War I

Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières,
She hasn't been kissed for forty years,
Hinky, Dinky Par ley voo.